How to ask a 'life-saving' question today

KEY QUESTION: It may be tough, but asking someone
KEY QUESTION: It may be tough, but asking someone "Are you okay?" could save a life. Jonno Colfs

ASKING someone frankly how they are coping isn't always easy.

But Southern Downs Suicide Prevention co-director Johno Felton said it could be life-saving.

Mr Felton urged everyone to pose the question to a loved one, a colleague or even a stranger for R U OK? Day today.

"It's important to be aware of it all year round, but a lot of businesses have started getting behind this day to make sure their employees are okay, as well as individuals,” Mr Felton said.

"Sometimes people will put on a brave face and they can be the last person you would expect to commit suicide, and other times you can pick it.

"If you notice a change in someone's mood, ask them - I've found a lot of the time they appreciate you picking up on it and will open up to you about what's getting them down.

"It's the one day of the year where we really encourage people to reach out to someone because we need to put a stop to suicide.”

SANE Australia recommends focusing on asking questions and listening rather than providing answers, and checking whether the person is connected to professional support.

Mr Felton said Warwick residents would have an opportunity to mark R U OK? Day and speak to professionals.

"It's a really happy day - we'll be down at the Town Hall from about 9am until about 12 or 1pm with tea and coffee and anyone who can sing or speak can get behind the microphone,” he said.

"There will also be counsellors from headspace if anyone would like to have a talk.”

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131114.

Topics:  mental health r u ok? day suicide prevention warwick community

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